Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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The air of the shop was thick with incense hiding the nylon and pressed cotton of new clothes. Patchouli. The scent made Simon think of a girl named Rachel he’d dated when he was in his first year of college, before Daneen rolled into his life and obscured the stars with her gleaming smile and radiant eyes. He still missed her, and he was stunned that a smell associated with another lover returned his thoughts of his dead wife. It seemed he’d always be in orbit around Ghost in the Shell streaming

The place was small but had plenty of items for the upcoming season. He found a rack of sweatshirts, grabbed a black one without even looking at the price, and then headed over to a shelf of ski accessories. The hats were strewn about as if a Black Friday melee had taken place. He sifted through a few, then found exactly what he’d been looking for: a black ski mask that would cover all of his features. Part of him felt amateur, even silly, buying it; as if he were in a third-rate crime drama he might watch dead-eyed on cable after the kids went to sleep. The desperate man robbing a bank to pay for his dying child’s kidney transplant. Simon wished the circumstances were that extreme, because maybe then this could be easily justified. Part of him just felt greedy and as he paid with a hundred and waved off the offer of a bag from the handmaiden cashier, he felt callous, perhaps even evil. He and the kids could continue to live without this money. They’d muddle through, drawing breath, existing. But then he thought of Alec’s blank expression during his last reprimand for not doing homework and Kailey’s vacant stare at the TV that was so much like Simon’s own. Yes, life would go on, but none of them would be living. Simon grabbed his change and forced a smile, then pushed through the heavy wooden door. As it closed loudly behind him, he glanced at the “open” sign in its arched window. He and the kids were no longer open. They’d accepted the dull thud of days that were like pins locking them into cages. And he needed to break free and turn the sign around or else their future would be a dusty window with a sun bleached closed sign perched permanently on display. (To be continued…)

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